Riverside first responders shop to help area families in need

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

RIVERSIDE, Mo. – The Riverside Police and Fire Department participated in their annual Shop with a Cop/Firefighter program this weekend.

Not everyone has the money to experience the joy of opening presents on Christmas morning. First responders spent their Sunday morning making sure dozens of kids won’t wake up empty-handed December 25.

Riverside police officers and firefighters met with area families who need a little help, at the Walmart off North Boardwalk in the Northland. The first responders walked around one-on-one with kids who picked out gifts for themselves and family members. Then they got the items gift-wrapped.

Sergeant Brent Holland explained the event combines the meaning of the season, the department’s community-oriented policing, and the collaboration with citizens to help people in need.

“These families are picked by counselors at our local schools who identify children in need and we therefore contact them and invite them to this event. Nine times out of 10, they’re not excited about themselves; they’re excited to share that with their families,” Holland said.

FOX 4 spoke with 11-year-old shopper Ivy Laboy who said, “I’m just thankful that they do this because if they didn’t do this, we wouldn’t have that good of a Christmas.”

The Riverside first responders hold fundraisers each year to help pay for this event. Hy-Vee also provides to each family a Christmas dinner with a turkey and all the traditional sides.